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Subject: DOCBOOK-APPS: Re: FO stylesheets compatibility with PassiveTex and Fop(was Re: Undefined control sequence from pdfxmltex)

/ Alex Lancaster <alexl@users.sourceforge.net> was heard to say:
| <minor-rant>
| May I make a humble suggestion to the Open DocBook Repository folks?
| For future releases it would be *really nice* if in the RELEASE-NOTES,
| you could include the current compatibility status of the XSL-FO with
| respect to both PassiveTeX and Apache's FOP.  

No argument, it would be really nice. I've been trying to get a
descent test harness up and running for a while, but it rarely reaches
the top of my todo list. And really "doing it right" would require keeping
several versions of PassiveTeX and FOP around, including the most recent
CVS versions.

All quite managable in theory.

| Another suggestion: it is unfortunate that the stylesheets are held
| hostage by the current incomplete implementations of the FO->PDF
| processors, it effectively means that the FO sheets can't really be
| fully tested without the complete XML->FO-PDF stage.  Would it be too
| hard to add a 'compatibility' mode to the stylesheets for PassiveTeX
| acceptable XSL-FO (like fo-patch-for-fop.xsl)?  

I'm quite willing, within reason, to stick to features that are widely
implemented, or use the {processor}-extensions hook to tweak things.
Usually when something breaks, especially at the FO processor level,
it's because I don't know I broke it.

| At very least, a description of the particular <fo:*> elements and/or
| new XSL templates that have been newly introduced that are known to
| cause problems with either PassiveTeX or Fop, so that I (or anyone
| else) would know where to start looking when implementing a
| workaround or a fo-patch-for-*.xsl compatibility stylesheet.

If I knew...

| In the case of PassiveTeX, it almost always croaks somehow on tables
| (and particularly so with >1.52.0 all those <fo:static-content>
| page-master tables), so the changes should be reasonably
| circumscribed.

Mea culpa. I know PT has trouble with tables, but I didn't think of
that when I added them to the page headers and footers.

| Again, I know that none of this is fault of the DocBook stylesheets,
| but since FOP and PassiveTeX seem to be the only open-source FO->PDF
| options out there, the stylesheets compatibility with these tools
| should be considered part of the release process.

Yes, it should.

| </minor-rant>

| [Incidentally if either FOP or PassiveTeX break, how do you (i.e. Bob,
| Norm etc.) actually test the XSL-FO are 'Doing the Right/Expected
| Thing' in terms of the final printed output?  Do you rely on other
| tools, or simply conformance with the written XSL-FO spec?]

Honestly, I rely mostly on xep. Bad norm, no biscuit.

                                        Be seeing you,

Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>      | Life is pain...anyone who tells
http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/ | you differently is selling
Chair, DocBook Technical Committee | something.--Wesley (The Princess
                                   | Bride)

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